“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is an optimistic way of saying “handle life’s manure.” Lemons are vile, nasty little cheek-burners that remind me of all that is wrong in life and business.

Life seems like a cage for some people. For others, it feels like waking up every day is like preparing to face a firing squad. There are just so many lemons pelleting us every single day.

Here are 8 ways to make the most of business’s pitfalls and obstacles.

1. Manage Your Week

In an effort to feel more productive, we (busy bees that we are) like to pile on task after task after task on our calendar. Somehow, taking commitments and countless meetings head-on makes (some of) us feel like contributing members to society – in an effort to make our time feel fruitful.

Which is far from the opposite. It’s true. In many cases, we push our nose against the grindstone and deliberately make more work for ourselves. Why? I don’t know. Some of us don’t “feel right” without a pile of “to do” lists on our desks. Or unless we don’t make enough new clients for the week.

This is why it’s imperative to take an hour (or two) and assess the damage of running your business like a workaholic. Look at your commitments, your meetings, your to-do list. Look at every single “thing” that has to be done on your calendar… and migrate the least essential ones to next week.

This isn’t prioritizing – far from it. Prioritizing requires a systematic approach; “I will do this, then this one, then this one,” and so on. By migrating the least essential “things” to next week, you’re drastically paring down the things you have to do this week. Meaning you won’t turn into a blood-eyed basket case freaking out at everybody.

2. Don’t Fret

Average people—everyday people—look at situations and life scenarios… and complain. It’s not hyperbole to say that we’ve become a nation of complainers. Do not be a complainer. The next time life throws you lemons, handle those lemons the way professionals do: by transforming from a “why me” whiner into a go-getter. The opportunity for becoming self-reliant is always there – take it.

3. Do “You”

Whether it’s a monotonous project you don’t enjoy doing, which endlessly slurps the “fiery sizzle” out from you… Or your “plain vanilla” workers became carbon copies of their own caricatures… Or even if you’re diving nose-first into the depths of an existential binge…

One thing’s certain: you have got to keep doing what you’re born to do. Look at me: I’m a writer. I’ve been writing every single day for 11 years. That’s roughly 4,000 days of consecutive writing. I love writing – and am paid by my editor to do what I love to do.

In business, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of that love; that fire in your belly you felt when you first started. Are you in your market because you just want to make money? If not, it’s time to switch the tides – or else your customers (and staff) won’t want to deal with you.

4. Encourage Someone Else

You know morale is paramount for success. Otherwise your profits suffer as a result. Take customer service, for example. If the representatives of a business are having a bad day, they’ll treat complaining customers nastily. This nastiness doesn’t endear your business to the customer – and you’ll most likely lose a lot of customers if your “face people” do not treat them right.

How exactly do you boost morale? One way is this: encourage your employees to go nuts. Atlassian is a company that has their employees do anything creative that they want to – from Thursday to Friday. As long as their creative project is tied to Atlassian products. This “creative exercise” gives workers a chance to flex their natural skills and talents within the company. I’m not one to argue against Atlassian: are you?

5. YOGA: Getting Started

Yoga is a powerful “tool” that’s been used for centuries to relieve destructive stress, shooing away anxiety, and inviting CEO-like clarity into your life. Yoga can be done anywhere, as all it requires is your willingness to rejuvenate your body and freshen-up your mind. If you want to lower stress levels, boost team productivity, and ensure your staff has a clear head… these benefits are crucial for you and your employees to have.

The benefits of yoga cannot be undermined – here are a few you can start reaping today:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Increases your heart rate
  • Improves happiness
  • Sharpens focus

You can see for yourself how your business can benefit from daily yoga sessions.

6. All Things Must Pass

Enduring life, with all its frustrations, pains and engulfing depths… one thing must be made absolutely clear: negativity ends. Whether you’ve lost customers, had to make cut-backs, or clients decided to leave in droves…

The pain and madness is temporary – and will eventually sweep away. Life has its ups and downs: business is no different. There will be setbacks. Honest success does not let setbacks get in the way of vision conquering. The good will come and go, just as the bad will come and go.

7. Organize Your World

Are you familiar with James Joyce, Irish author of “Ulysses”? He’s been called a genius and his book, a masterpiece. Some argue it holds a mirror up to life and humanity’s psychological constructs. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But Joyce did put 7-painstaking years into creating that book – often describing details, people and locations in minute detail. Some readers reported going to the places described in Ulysses (which occurs in Dublin, Ireland) and seeing it exactly the way it was described.

How can you gain this kind of control over your business? Hand aspects of it over to young men and women who are smarter than you. Felix Dennis (founder of Dennis Publishing) did this by letting Guy Sneesby manage Dennis Pub’s internet websites (when it was new). Against the tide of rivals, Guy (as big an advocate as he was for the internet) did not spend millions of dollars on advertising or website development. This is revealed in Felix Dennis’ book, How To Get Rich.

8. Transform Into A Grizzled Pro

Fortunately, one of the most “professional” ways of handling an onslaught of lemons in business… is to accept them, and just deal with them. What separates the successful (and fulfilled) “doers” of us from the common, whiny herd… is our willingness to overcome everything in our path. This requires powerful mind strength. Developing this mind strength to accept the reality of the situation… will help you… to take life as it comes and deal with it accordingly.


As you can see, getting the upper hand in life when it seems to be an unsurmountable mountain… isn’t as excruciating a struggle as it seems. Above all, remember that life, though miserable and hard right now, is testing you to see how powerful you are. You’re reading this right now: so obviously you are willing beat life at its own game. You can.